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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (474 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Leo Tolstoy Narrator: George K. Wilson Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Hailed as one of the world’s supreme masterpieces on the subject of death and dying, Leo Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” is the story of a worldly careerist, a high court judge who has never given the inevitability of his death so much as a passing thought. But one day, death announces itself to him, and to his shocked surprise he is brought face to face with his own mortality. How, Tolstoy asks, does an unreflective man confront his one and only moment of truth?

This novella was the artistic culmination of a profound spiritual crisis in Tolstoy’s life, a nine-year period following the publication of Anna Karenina during which he wrote not a word of fiction. A thoroughly absorbing and, at times, terrifying glimpse into the abyss of death, it is also a strong testament to the possibility of finding spiritual salvation.

Also included in this volume are “The Forged Coupon,” “After the Dance,” “My Dream,” “There Are No Guilty People,” and “The Young Tsar.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The greatest of all novelists.”

    Virginia Woolf, praise for the author

  • “A serene god.”

    Marcel Proust, praise for the author

  • “A sublime artist.”

    Fyodor Dostoyevsky, praise for the author

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jonathan | 2/17/2014

    " Tolstoy wrote with deep psychological insight, detailed description, and wit. My favorite of these three shorts was, I think, The Cossacks. The ending was abrupt and twisted my gut. It was realistic, but he made it hurt. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Unbridled | 2/17/2014

    " In this slim collection of stories, we might learn that: (1) the only certain happiness in life is to live for others; (2) Ivan Ilych's life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible; (3) foolishness comes from education; and (4) woman is an instrument of enjoyment - among many other things. Of the 4 stories, I found Master and Man to be the 'weakest,' but that's only because I found Tolstoy's genius so radiant in the other stories (Family Happiness, The Death of Ivan Ilych, The Kreutzer Sonata). These stories had a strange effect on me - even where I disagreed with Tolstoy completely, his genius delivered me to great things. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Adam Fleming | 2/3/2014

    " Stretching myself to read works of great writers I've never read before. Tolstoy is great for sure. The three works in this volume include Master and Man and The Kreutzer Sonata as well as the Death of Ivan Illych. Dark stuff, but a glimmer of hope for the afterlife too. Will I read more Tolstoy soon? Probably not. Looking forward to getting home where I have a stack of American writers waiting for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Henry | 2/3/2014

    " the death of ivan ilych is breathtakingly good, happy ever after is very good and the cossacks a step down "

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